Dec 28, 2014; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce (87) runs the ball as San Diego Chargers defensive back Jahleel Addae (37) attempts the tackle during the first half at Arrowhead Stadium. The Chiefs won 19-7. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
In case you have been hibernating from football for the past several months, the 2015 NFL Draft is right around the corner.
The Kansas City Chiefs are in the unique position of being right around the middle of the draft with the number 18 overall pick. This has led to tons of speculation on what position the Chiefs should target in the first round. Many have them selecting an offensive position, whether it be a offensive lineman or another wide receiver.
Even with all the guessing and the many mock drafts, there has been one position that has not been mentioned for Kansas City in the first round: tight end.
Dec 7, 2014; Glendale, AZ, USA; Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce (87) against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. The Cardinals defeated the Chiefs 17-14. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Whoa, you might be saying to yourself, the Chiefs currently have a strong tight end in Travis Kelce. You would be correct, as usual, Kelce did emerge as one of the go-to targets for quarterback Alex Smith. His numbers were better than most of the receivers on their team with 67 receptions, 862 yards and five scores. Also with the dismissal of Anthony Fasano, Kelce has jumped to number one on the tight end depth chart. However, even with his recent success, he could still benefit by the addition of another quality tight end.
Currently the Chiefs show five tight ends on their roster: Travis Kelce, Brandon Barden, Richard Gordon, Demetrius Harris, and Adam Schiltz. Harris had high expectations coming out of training camp, and many wondered if he would see much playing time being third on the chart. He posted minimal numbers on the field, only recording three receptions for 20 yards. Richard Gordon has been around the league since 2011 but saw only one start and recorded zero stats. Adam Schiltz and Brandon Barden also have no stats. So beyond Kelce and Fasano from last year, the Chiefs don’t really have much in terms of playmakers for tight end.
Even with the meager stats I just mentioned, why should the Chiefs target a tight end with their first pick when they currently have five on their roster? Simply put, Alex Smith loves to throw to tight ends. Look at the chemistry he development in San Francisco with Vernon Davis. Even the relationship between him and Kelce has developed more, despite Kelce’s occasional hold-onto-the-ball issues. We all know that Smith is not one to air out the ball, so the short routes to speedy, elusive guys like Kelce are more in his comfort level. Having two big, quick and hard-to-bring-down tight ends would allow Smith more comfort when plays break down, and he feels the need to pass it to the check down.